We’re Surrounded!

April 15, 2004

Dear Jane,

It is 9:34 at night–way past missionary midnight which falls for me about 8:00.  DSC01077 (Small) Mike and Casey have retired for the evening.  Mike often takes the mini missionaries who visit back to the airport at Entebbe.  It is an hour drive and the flight out to London is very early so tonight he is not the family night owl. There are times, like today when I feel so surrounded by humanity that I purpose to carve out some time to be still, quiet and alone with God.  God has met me with much comfort concerning the death of James Okwir.  As I prepared for the Mama’s Bible study of Genesis 9, I was warned and helped when I considered the heart of Ham.  He sought to expose and ridicule Noah when he lay naked and drunk.  How easy it is to feel superior and to exploit other’s weaknesses.  How beautiful that the other two sons honored their father and sought to cover and protect him in his folly.

There has been so much tongue wagging about this tragic incident.  Everyone seems shocked that this young man was stealing. I asked the mamas today if we were guilty of arrogantly thinking that the sin of stealing only dwelt in James’ heart.  I asked whether we felt justified in exposing and denigrating his character?  Are we like Ham–anxious to clothe ourselves in self-righteousness and willing to strip this brother of all honor?   I wondered if God would not rather have us tremble at what lives in our hearts and draw close to Him who is willing to cover rather than expose us!

DSC02141 (Small) Carolyn and I took Sophie to Mengo Hospital today where her TB treatment is given.  She will go every two weeks for about 7 months. I thought she would be hooked up to some breathing apparatus or some inhaling machine.  The treatment plan consisted of waiting in line to be weighed–waiting in line to be seen by a doctor, waiting in another line to get in to meet the pharmacist.  She carefully counted out tablets that were to be taken for the next two weeks and put them in a tiny envelope like the envelopes we get from tellers at the bank.  Following the TB treatment portion of the visit, we got into two more lines to have her seen by a doctor for an ear infection and then another line for the medicine for that!

mengo (Small) During those waiting hours, you see sights that you can scarcely believe.  People collapsing from malaria symptoms, lepers, malnourished children who look like skeletons, children urinating on the floor.  Despairing, suffering people–waiting for the most minimal kind of care.

Compared to the sights we saw, our Sophie is thriving!  She now has wrinkles in her thighs that used to look like Kermit the Frog’s!  She is eating to beat the band and getting stronger everyday.  DSC01703 (Small) I wouldn’t take anything for the privilege that is ours to oversee this child’s recovery–she is so worth it.  Carolyn and I adore her hair — it is a soft straight Indian looking growth.  The doctor said that we need to shave it off.  He said that her hair was a sure sign of malnourishment and TB.  He told us that if she is getting good food and good treatment her hair will grow in curly like it is supposed to on an African!

The verse that sustained me through the day was Psalm 125, especially these words:

As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the LORD surrounds his people
both now and forevermore.

As I sat on wooden benches in the hospital with TB patients,  I counted on His surrounding Presence and it was there.

Until later my dearest friend–you are cherished and loved–lissa

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